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the Harding conference and the work of the Disarmament 
Commission of the League of Nations. With respect to the 
idea of a preliminary parley, the influence of the Harding 
administration seems to have been exerted against it with- 
out causing embarrassment. With respect to the danger of 
conflict with the League of Nations, various spokesmen for 
the latter have said that none need be feared. At the open- 
ing session of the League's Disarmament Commission in 
Paris, M. Viviani said : 

We were not surprised that the Chief of the great Amer- 
ican nation, so powerful and so generous, which by its think- 
ers and in civic movements has so often agitated the ques- 
tion of disarmament, has taken the step which France first 
approved — of assembling governments with a view to an 
agreement on disarmament. We are happy to be associated 
with this initiative, confident that the work we are under- 
taking cannot fail to be taken into consideration. 

The question of disarmament is so difficult, so complex, 
and so delicate that those who approach it meet ignorance, 
prejudices, and traditions in both military and economic 
fields, so that there cannot be too many men trying to solve 
the problem. Such is the spirit in which we work, for it will 
not have been worth while to have carried the burden of the 
great war if we cannot derive from it benefits for our chil- 


"This has been the quietest week-end in Irish annals since 
January, 1919, when the extremist Sinn Fein campaign 

Those words appeared in a dispatch from London in the 
latter part of July. Similar statements could have been 
made after each subsequent week-end up to the time of 
going to press. Therein is to be found a fact of large im- 
portance to the civilized world, horrified these many months 
at the regularly recurring slaughters, first of the partisans 
on one side and then of the partisans on the other, in the 
latest outbreak of the centuries-old feud. 

More than that, the existence of a state of peace, tem- 
porary though it has been, has created a mental attitude on 
each side that augurs most happily for final settlement of 
the Irish problem. Once the insanity of the terrible killings 
was suspended, reason assumed the throne in each camp, 
and men and women began to ask each other, with increas- 
ing insistence, why the problem could not be settled by sane 
processes — by sensible methods of give and take. As they 
asked, they answered more and more positively that it 
could be. 

Not that there have not been foolish firebrands on both 
sides, carelessly dealing with the lives of many men and the 
happiness and welfare of many more, while Mr. Lloyd- 
George and Mr. de Valera, with their respective associates, 
were in conference. There have been such. Utterly criminal 
utterances have appeared in England and in Ireland from 
extremists ; and it is significant that most of these extrem- 
ists appear to be persons like those whom a gallant Con- 
federate soldier, pleading for the healing of sectional wounds 
in this country, once described as "invisible in war; in- 
vincible in peace." 

From the Tory party in England a delegation was formed 
which waited on Mr. Austen Chamberlain, Tory leader, dur- 
ing the negotiations, with a demand that in any settlement 
Ulster be untouched. The delegation is said to have de- 
parted "only half satisfied" with Mr-. Chamberlain's assur- 
ance that Ulster would not be "coerced." And in the House 

of Lords the leader of the Conservative extremists, Lord 
Salisbury, stated that his element "felt deeply the shame 
and humiliation involved in the Irish negotiations." 

On the other side, the Irish Bulletin allowed itself to be 
led, by what it regarded as unsatisfactory statements in the 
British press, to print a rather truculent article, in which 
it said that "the Irish people have their own views of what 
offers are reasonable, and, notwithstanding threats of re- 
newed terror, will agree to nothing which denies the ancient 
unity of Ireland or seeks to impose upon the nation alien 
dominion of any kind" ; to which was added that "the Irish 
people have made up their, minds that they will accept a 
peace which is just, and does not betray the dead and living, 
but they will return to the wilderness of hardship, suffering. 
and death before they will compromise in the slightest de- 
gree their national honor." All that and more of bellicose 
utterance in the hour when calm words across the confer- 
ence table were sought by reasonable men. 

But the work of making peace in Ireland has moved ahead 
fairly steadily since Mr. Lloyd-George and Mr. de Valera 
sat down in 10 Downing Street, at 4.30 on the afternoon of 
July 14, and talked until 7, having tea during the conversa- 
tion, the equivalent of the significant thing in this country 
of "breaking bread." Mr. de Valera described that meeting 
as an effort to see what could be done at close quarters, and 
refrained from any general comment, while Mr. Lloyd- 
George later expressed the earnest hope that the opportu- 
nity for peace would not be lost. The conversations con- 
tinued until July 21, with Sir James Craig, Ulster leader, 
in conference with British leaders. On that date Mr. Lloyd- 
George handed Mr. de Valera the British preliminary pro- 
posals, and the Irish chieftain was described as leaving 
Downing Street in cheerful mood. 

Exactly what those proposals were was not made known, 
although it was stated that they were not the final terms of 
the British, but were to be used as the basis for discussion 
by Mr. de Valera in counseling with the other Sinn Fein 
leaders. Various guesses, of more or less confident tenor, 
were offered. The one oftenest made was that Dominion 
government, similar to that enjoyed by Canada, was pro- 
posed, with safeguards for Ulster against oppression by 
South Ireland, possibly in the form of a separate parlia- 
mentary system for Ulster, but with a way left open for the 
easy unification of all Ireland in one practically independ- 
ent, self-governing State in the "commonwealth of Britisli 
nations." Linked with the reports of this plan were pro- 
visions that Great Britain would control the military and 
naval relations of Ireland, and that liberal fiscal policies 
would be set up in Ireland's relation, as a self-governing 
Dominion, to England. 

Another guess as to the British offer was that it pro- 
vided four parliaments in Ireland — in Ulster, Munster, Con- 
naught, and Leinster — with one national parliament. Still 
another guess was that it was proposed to have an Ulster 
and a" South Ireland parliament, each handling the local 
affairs of its respective district, with a national parliament, 
fashioned after the Congress of the United States. The 
lower house of the national parliament, as this guess had it, 
would be elected on a numerical basis, while the upper house 
would have equal representation from South Ireland and 
Ulster, following the principle under which each of the 
American States is given two members of the United States 




However, all of these guesses were rendered a bit dubious 
by Mr. Lloyd-George's statement in Commons, on July 25, 
that he would make an announcement as soon as it was 
possible to do so without endangering the negotiations, but 
that in the meantime he warned "the members they must 
not accept accounts in the public press as to the terms, be- 
cause all of those I have seen are inaccurate." And Sir 
James Craig had caused much confusion among those trying 
to make deductions by giving out a statement on July 18, 
before leaving London for Belfast, to the effect that Ulster 
had settled her problem by setting up her own parliamentary 
government, and that the negotiations were between Mr. 
Lloyd-George and Mr. de Valera with respect to the area 
outside of Ulster. 

While the speculation was it its height over the terms set 
forth by the British, Mr. de Valera was back in Dublin in 
conference with the leaders of Sinn Fein, and on July 28 a 
dispatch from that city stated that an unusual air of opti- 
mism prevailed, that a communication soon was expected to 
go from Mr. de Valera to Mr. Lloyd-George, and that a con- 
ference probably would be arranged soon between Mr. de 
Valera and Sir James Craig. There was talk that Dail 
Eireann soon would be assembled to consider the British 
proposals, and that a large number of the members of the 
Sinn Fein legislative body would be released from prison by 
the British to participate in the deliberations. Some of 
them already had been released. 

Mr. Chamberlain, as government leader in Commons, had 
shown the strong hope of the British that permanent peace 
was on the way by telling Parliament on July 26 that he 
hoped it would be prorogued on August 26, but that it might 
be possible to summon it again in November or December to 
pass legislation necessary to an Irish settlement. 


The Harding Administration has moved to adjust upon a 
peace basis the great indebtedness due this country by 
foreign nations with which it was associated in the war. 
The step is approved generally, not only as a piece of prac- 
tical business, but as tending to remove a fecund source of 
dangerous agitation by elements of the debtor nations em- 
bittered against one or another. 

Great Britain's debt to the United States, for example, 
running into the billions, with interest amounting annually, 
according to recent estimates, to $225,000,000, is already 
being used by anti-English influences to create hard feelings 
between the two nations, the intimation frequently being 
made that Great Britain has deliberately worsted the United 
States, and is consulting its own convenience and best 
interests about paying principal or interest, the while it 
seeks to supplant this country in the markets of the world. 
In less degree, similar agitation is conducted with respect 
to the indebtedness of other countries. Business-like ad- 
justment of these matters, it is believed, would go far 
toward removing such new obstacles to amity and good will. 
Moreover, adjustment of these debts on a business-like peace 
basis, in the opinion of some experts, might help materially 
in relieving the financial difficulties of the government and 
exert a beneficent reflex upon the general economic state 
of the world. The total debt is between $10,000,000,000 and 
$li ,000,000,000, and the interest on it, the rate of which is 

determined by the rate this government was paying at the 
time each loan was made, is calculated roughly at $500,- 
000,000 a year. If arrangements could be made to refund 
the debts, and begin the collection of the larger part of the 
interest, even though payment on account of the principal 
were long deferred, the effect upon American governmental 
finances would be most encouraging. 

Collection of $400,000,000 a year, it is pointed out, would 
meet approximately one-tenth of the total of appropriations 
that the Harding Administration contemplates for the fiscal 
year just ahead. A reduction in taxes in that amount, 
especially if linked with measurable curtailments in appro- 
priations for military and naval purposes, would help the 
general financial conditions of the United States, experts be- 
liece, and improvement in this country would be reflected in 
other countries. And if Great Britain began paying her in- 
terest of $225,000,000, as Winston Churchilland other of her 
statesmen have been quoted as saying she will do shortly, 
the collection of approximately $400,000,000 a year in inter- 
est might not be impossible, bearing in mind that France 
and Italy also are debtors. 

However, the usual difference of opinion between the 
administrative and legislative ends of the government as to 
legislation in relation to refunding of these debts on a peace- 
time basis has appeared. The Administration seeks what 
amounts to blanket authority to reorganize the debts. It 
has the viewpoint of men who must bear the responsibility 
for actual conduct of the refunding, who know of their own 
patriotism and devotion to the best interests of the country 
and who want ample room in which to move around when 
dealing with the debtors. But the legislative branch has its 
normal suspicions of such blanket authority. Specifically, 
it looks askance at the fact that, under the unlimited 
authority asked by the Administration, German bonds, or 
the bonds of other nations allied with Germany in the war, 
could be taken in lieu of obligations given by nations that 
were associated with the United States against the Central 

There is little doubt that this power would be given the 
Administration under the Penrose bill. In fact, the Admin- 
istration avows that it had the power put into the bill delib- 
erately. Secretary of the Treasury Mellon stated to the Sen- 
ate Finance Committee that, while no suggestion had come to 
him that German bonds be taken in exchange for the obliga- 
tions of other nations, it might prove advantageous to do so. 
Secretary of Commerce Hoover, the general business expert 
of the Administration, is reported to hold the same view. 
Their thought, it appears, is that Germany will make 
progress toward economic stability more rapidly than some 
of the smaller or newer nations, and that it might pay the 
United States to allow such smaller or newer nations, into 
whose hands German reparation bonds might come, to turn 
those bonds over in payment of their debts. 

Against allowing the Administration power to accept such 
substitutions of obligations, there is a view in the Senate 
which has been well expressed by Senator McKellar, Demo- 
crat, of Tennessee, who has criticized both the last and the 
present Administrations sharply for alleged secrecy about 
the details of the debts and delay in putting them on a 
sound basis. He holds that practically all of the debts due 
the country are good and can be collected ultimately ; that 
the money was loaned the other nations at par, when their 
obligations were at heavy discount in the money markets of 
the world ; and that, in view of these two facts, it would be